Managing in the Work-from-Anywhere Environment
The pandemic changed so many things permanently. This new work-from-anywhere model is not likely to vanish anytime soon. Technology is so efficient and effective that it has allowed many businesses to thrive despite the many challenges of the 2020 pandemic. We, like many businesses, closed our offices in March of 2020 for the safety of our team. This forced us to come up with new ways to communicate and evolve.
Initially, we held conference calls to communicate within our team, however, it was clear we missed seeing each other and we felt the need to shift to video conferencing. The video conferencing along with the ability to share computer screens and documents made a huge difference in creating effective training and communication. This same trend has evolved with client communication, where most things used to be accomplished via phone calls. Many times, we could only communicate with one person on the other side, now with the adaption of video conferencing it’s been easier to include more family members. In addition, video conferencing helps keep everyone on the same page and it simplifies much of the communication. You can walk through the material page-by-page together on screen.
Working from home during the pandemic forced new schedules and new habits. In normal times, we saw everyone every day and might have overlooked the importance of continued training and development sessions. To avoid the feeling of separation and isolation while our team was working from home, we established a morning video conference. This streamlined communication, so everyone was on the same page. In addition, we schedule weekly training sessions that target specific topics for different areas of focus for the team. Much of this may sound basic, but I think many businesses overlooked the importance of communication continued development sessions. The pandemic forced us to revisit how we viewed our communication strategies and we have developed new habits that have made our business much stronger.
In July of 2020, we decided to safely return to our office, but again with new schedules and habits. There is no question that we all benefit from in-person interactions for many businesses. Our schedule evolved to work-from-anywhere’ Mondays and Fridays and work-from-our-office Tuesday through Thursday. We are not sure if this will ultimately be our permanent schedule, but it has offered many advantages.
We’ve tried to schedule our client meetings during our work from the office days and allow for business planning and follow up work during work-from-anywhere days. This has proved to be much more effective and productive. In addition, the work-from-anywhere’ days force the intentional video conferencing required to ensure the training and work is completed effectively.
Another advantage is a better overall work/life balance. The old routine made it difficult to keep your household tasks and errands in order. Work schedules from 8-5 made it difficult to accomplish many errands and tasks because many businesses were closed by the time we got home from work. Phone calls are now forwarded to cell phones which allows us to stay connected during work hours, but still accomplish many tasks that tend to build up with our old schedules.
In addition, the new Monday and Friday work-from-anywhere’ schedule allows for more travel, rest, and relaxation. You can fly or drive anywhere you’d like and work remotely. This allows you to be productive during business hours and enjoy your destination for the rest of the time. This better work/life balance creates more productivity and loyalty to businesses that adjust to accommodate this new phenomenon.